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Doing corn…

August 18, 2010

Our bodies need basic things.  Food, water, breathable air, clothing, sleep, shelter, movement.  Our Spirits need basic things, too. Love, Peace, Meaningful activity, caring relationships, a way to contribute and give to others, a connection to something greater than ourselves, a way to know God.  Forgiveness of the past.  Hope for the future.  When any of these needs is unmet, we starve, we suffer, we perish. -Matt Lenahan, whose congregation in Akron extends the table into the community with a monthly meal called Peter’s Porch

Tuesday at the House (TATH) has always been about food.  Food for the body.  Food for the spirit.  It has always been about extending the family table, making room for others.  It has been about hospitality and relationship, giving and receiving, eating, laughing and praying.  Last night it was about all this…and it was about doing corn.  Over two hundred ears donated by Jen and Wade Esbenshade who own and operate an organic produce farm in New Holland.

For the last number of months, I have been in conversation with other local pastors and community leaders about forming a coalition against hunger in Lancaster.  We have been talking about ways to close the gap between abundant food production in Lancaster County and those who for one reason or another occasionally find themselves in some kind of food hardship.  This reality is born out by a recent report from the Central PA Food Bank.

The gospel writers include various stories of Jesus feeding crowds with bread and fish (Mark 6:30-44).  Jesus feeds bodies and spirits.  He gives thanks, breaks bread, and offers it to those who are hungry as a sign of the kingdom of God.  There are many partners in this work of breaking loaves and fishes so that everyone has enough to eat.  The Lancaster County Council of Churches partners with a number of Lancaster city churches to provide community meals throughout the week.  East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church, our sister congregation in the city, is one of those locations where a meal is provided on a weekly basis.

Wade and Jen Esbenshade have been part of the conversation taking place around how to bridge the gap between local produces and those experiencing economic hardship.  Motivated by their faith which calls them to work for healing and hope in our world, they are thinking creatively about ways to partner with those who are serving meals locally.  Part of this vision to connect local food production with local tables came into view last evening as we husked, blanched, cut, and put corn into zip lock bags to be frozen.  In a small way there was a link between the fields where the corn was produced and the tables where people eat.

A few loaves of bread, a few fish…a few ears of corn.  There was something good about making a connection between how food is grown, prepared and our community table last evening.  We ate together, worked together, and there was enough left over for food to go home with us.  Seems like this was good for our bodies and our spirits.  For this too, we give thanks.

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